Germany: Oktoberfest is cancelled

Update 21.4.2020:

The Oktoberfest 2020 is cancelled. Bavaria's Prime Minister Markus Söder and Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter announced the sad news in a press conference on Tuesday morning. He also said that no no other comparable beer festivals will take place in Bavaria this summer. "It hurts us. It's a pity,” he said.

He promised emergency aid for showmen. Until Pentecost, according to Söder, there should be ideas of how to continue with the business in bars and restaurants, as long as no vaccine has been found.Mayor Dieter Reiter does not see a claim for damages to the city of Munich, the organizer of the festival.

According to estimates, the Oktoberfest generated direct and indirect sales of a about one billion euros in 2019 - from sales at the Oktoberfest itself through hotel and catering to all the other offers in the city. Every year about 2 million foreign guests come to Munich; thereof 70% visit the Oktoberfest.

Original message 19.4.2020:

In times of the coronavirus pandemic many large and small events are cancelled. Many Oktoberfest fans therefore ask whether the Wiesn, as the world’s largest beer festival is also called, can take place at all this year.

After a video conference with the heads of the 16 German federal states on Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that the strict protective measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to be maintained. In particular, large events with hundreds or thousands of people are to remain prohibited until the end of August.

Since the Oktoberfest is to take place from September 19 to October 4, the organizers still hope that a cancellation can be avoided. “As the organizer of the Wiesn, together with all our partners, I would like to see that there is no need to cancel the event,” says Clemens Baumgärtner, head of the department of labor and economic development of the city of Munich.

"Of course the decision will be made with the greatest possible responsibility. In the end, it will largely depend on what the medical experts advise and what health policy and safety regulations will be issued by the federal government and the Free State [of Bavaria]," Baumgartner adds. “Therefore, we want to monitor the situation until the last possible moment before an irreversible decision is made. That will be in June at the latest," Baumgärtner says.

Table reservations at one of the 17 Oktoberfest tents have already started at the beginning of the year and officially all the tables which were open for reservation are already taken. The reservation itself, which is only possible for a whole table of about 8 to 10 people, just like entry to the Oktoberfest and the beer tents, is free. However you need to buy and pay for vouchers in advance. These are tokens, for example for 2 liters of beer and some food. Despite the impending cancellation of the festival, tables are still being traded on the Internet at black market prices of 1,000 euros and more.


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